A Standard Journey
The day I galloped down a steep incline to find a gun to shoot one of our horses, was the day I realised that I may have bitten off more than I could chew. It was Noel’s idea. Not shooting the horse, but living with horses 24/7 while trekking along part of the Bicentennial National Trail in Australia. When he mentioned the trail for a second time in one week, I knew we’d be doing it. We’re nomadic folk. During our seventeen years together we’ve sailed around the world one-and-a-half-times, become professional skippers and now live on a Dutch barge in France. Amid this mayhem we rescued five scatty, scared horses and slowly transformed the seven of us into a team. There were elements of success and elements of failure. The initial realisation that I hadn’t ridden for twenty years and Noel hadn’t ridden for fifty was quite sobering. The stark comprehension that we were now middle aged was a painful one – literally. The joy of transforming those lost boys into strong, confident ‘war-horses’ was sometimes overwhelming. At the start the boys wouldn’t step into a puddle – imagine the emotions when they tackled steep ravines, faced-off bolshie kangaroos and plowed through deep rivers. I sometimes indulged in the enormity of my responsibility. The desolation of our failure still punctures my heart. The yet unanswered desire to return and make the journey a success is still vivid. The heart-break of saying farewell to our boys, our family – will never leave me. There are plans that are slowly unravelling in my mind – we will tackle this once more. The growth and realisation that – actually – we did succeed; we survived (at times it was an extremely close thing), we turned those boys into useful, brave animals by loving them and giving them a chance. And, did we shoot the horse? Well there’s a story; a story that will help rescue more of these incredible animals. In June this year I will publish our escapade, warts and all – a percentage of proceeds will be donated to saving more horses-lives. Come join me on a thrilling ride! Up to date information our FB page ‘For the love of horses’.In the meantime, read more about our watery adventures here.